Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need A Cupcake

Every once in a while, someone asks you one of those tricky questions. It happened to me today. “Who are you?” a friend asked me. I gave my usual answer - “I’m April Harris, a housewife, writer, wife and mother.” My friend (who is reading a lot of self help books at the moment) didn’t like this answer. “That’s what you are, not who you are,” she said. Then she asked again. “Who are you?”

I tried, “I’m the 21st Century Housewife©”, but she didn’t like that either. “No,” my friend insisted. “Tell me what defines you”. What defines me? Oh my goodness, what does define me? If it can’t be what I do, then how on earth do I describe who I am?

I really could not come up with an answer, and frankly I found the idea of being in my early forties and not being able to describe who I was so disturbing I changed the subject. It was soon time for me to go, and as I left, my friend admonished me to “be kind to myself’.

I thought that was nice. We should all be kinder to ourselves really. Human beings can be so hard on themselves. But although I left my friend, her first question did not leave me. “Who are you? What defines you?” We almost always describe and define people by their roles or by their qualities. “She’s a dentist”, “He’s a lawyer”, “She’s quiet”, “He’s the life of the party”. But of course our roles and qualities don’t define us. But what actually does?

I thought about it all the way home, and even while I was in the grocery store. But then I remembered what my friend said about being kind to myself. Coincidentally, it was right around the time I walked past the in-store bakery. There they were, right on the top shelf. Cupcakes. I love cupcakes - and as much as I like making them there is something about a store-bought cupcake that makes my heart beat faster. I always, always resist the temptation though. I have never, ever bought (or made) cupcakes without a good reason - a birthday, visitors coming or a party. I’ve never, ever bought one just because I fancied it.

But today, in the spirit of being kind to myself, I bought one just for me. I chose the prettiest, girliest one on the shelf just for me. And when I got home, I ate it with a cup of tea, enjoying every bite, totally focusing on the yumminess of the moment.

I may not know exactly how to describe who I am, but I do know I like cupcakes - especially pretty, girly pink ones with roses on top!

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